Picking on the Defenseless

At the boarding school we attended with about 150 other sons of the South, bullying and teasing were hallmarks of daily life.  In the testosterone rich environment, one learned very quickly how to defend against the mostly verbal predation or else quickly became a target of opportunity for the quick of wit and the sharp of tongue. But among the predators an unwritten rule existed; no style points earned for attacking the truly defenseless. We are reminded of this life lesson by TigerHawk, who takes John Kerry down for a little verbal beating…..which is probably a violation of the unwritten rule.

"The fun hasn’t gone out blogging after all!  Even though he is not running for president, the erstwhile leader of the Democratic party is still making an unbelievable ass
of himself. He has gone to the World Economic Forum at Davos (where,
Captain Ed observes, "American leftists [go] to slam their own
country"), attacked the United States for policies that he voted for
(and, no, I’m
not talking about Iraq), and sucked up to the least bad president in the history of the Islamic Republic (that being a best-hockey-player-in-Ecuador standard if there ever was one)."

Really, it’s too easy.

Continue reading “Picking on the Defenseless”

The First Skirmish in the Anglo-Iranian War

Normally this kind of thing occurs in the shadows, in remote corners of contested areas. When events edge closer to the glare of the media spotlight, it is usually a sign that things are getting to the boiling point. Soldiers dressed in US uniforms were allowed to pass through Iraqi checkpoints to reach a secure building where US and Iraqi soldiers were meeting to discuss "security issues". And things turned very ugly. Read the report and say a prayer for our troopers. And prepare for things to get ugly between us and the Iranians. The gloves are coming off.

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United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Of the dilettantes and doubters currently residing in the chambers of "The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body", Daniel Henninger writes in today’s Wall Street Journal (available on-line):

As a political strategy, unremitting opposition has worked. Approval
for the president and the war is low. The GOP lost sight of its
ideological lodestars and so control of Congress. But the U.S. still
occupies a unique position of power in the world, and we are putting
that status at risk by playing politics without a net.

On the "Charlie Rose Show" this month, former Army vice chief of
staff Gen. Jack Keane, who supports the counterinsurgency plan being
undertaken by Gen. David Petraeus, said in exasperation: "My God, this
is the United States. We are the world’s No. 1 superpower. This isn’t
about arrogance. This is about capability and applying ourselves to a
problem that is at its essence a human problem."

At our current juncture, Gen. Keane’s words probably rub many the
wrong way. But there’s a Cassandra-like warning implicit in them. The
mood of mass resignation spreading through the body politic is toxic.
It is uncharacteristic of Americans under stress. Some might call it
realism, but it looks closer to the fatalism of elderly Europe,
overwhelmed and exhausted by its burdens, than to the American
tradition.

The great American traits of optimism, determination, and a can-do approach to any task are falling to the wayside, battered by an apparently endless succession of politicians, intellectuals, policy experts, media stars, and their devotees. What was, only a few decades ago, the source of inspiration to the rest of the world is now the cause of much that is, in the mind of the opposition, evil. We are destroying ourselves from within. It might be an acceptable fate if the intention was the improvement of our condition rather than the achievement of political goals. In its mean spirit which suggests that the defeat of national goals is a victory worth more than the loss of world opinion, the opposition to President Bush serves only to diminish all of us.

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What W Should Say

With thanks from Jules Crittenden, who writes what GWB should say tonight:

Don’t bother standing up or clapping, any of you. I already know who won the election, and I know how you feel.

I come before you tonight not to make amends, not to make it good, curry any favor or find any middle ground.

I am, more or less, a lame duck. You’ve had your 100 hours of party
time. I know. I won’t get any legislation passed without some major
bottom-kissing. Maybe something on illegal aliens. That health
insurance thing I’ll be talking about later tonight is pretty much for
show. I know it isn’t going anywhere. A proposal to raise middle-class
taxes for a healthcare plan you don’t even want? What was I thinking?

None of that really matters. Not now. Those are peacetime issues
we’ve been bickering about for a long time, and I don’t expect we’ll
resolve them anytime soon.

So what is the best thing I can do tonight? I can tell you the
truth. What none of you want to hear. What you’ve been stopping your
ears to. The ugly truth.

The State of the Union is a disaster.  I did my best, but I made mistakes, and my best wasn’t good enough.

We went to war without building up our army, and now, I am trying to make up for that.

But that is not the disaster.

The disaster is that you, Congress and the American people, do not care to fight.

Faced with a fundamental challenge to our own security, to
everything we believe in, to the world order to peace and security for
which we and our parents fought so hard for so many years, you now want
to pretend like none of these threats are real. You want to surrender
to the evil I have been telling you about. An evil that, unchecked, can
consume large parts of the world and threatens to usher in a dark age.

You didn’t like it when I talked about evil.  Sounded too simple, too uncompromising, too moralistic. Too … biblical.

I don’t know what else you call people who fly passenger jets into
office buildings; who rape women in front of their husbands and
children, and execute their opponents in acid baths; who seek to spread
tyrannical and archaic religious regimes that enslave women and stifle
fundamental freedoms. Who want to dominate the world’s primary oil
fields with nuclear weapons.

I call it evil. Works for me.

I’ve heard all the comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam. George
Bush’s Vietnam. The myopia is astonishing, even for me, George Bush,
who you all think just isn’t that smart. But I learned something in
school: People who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Didn’t you learn anything from Vietnam? Didn’t you see what happened
when your predecessors in Congress, disgruntled and responding to
public opinion polls just like you are, voted repeatedly to undermine
an ally that was fighting for its survival and making headway against
evil? There, I’ve said it again. Millions of people were murdered or
imprisoned.

And then, those who wished us ill … the evil-doers … evil, evil evil … took advantage of our weakness.

The Soviet Union, evil personified, invaded Afghanistan, knowing
we’d do nothing about it. Iran defied all international norms, took our
sovereign embassy and held our people hostage for 444 days. They knew
we’d do nothing about it. It was a massive humiliation we have been
paying for with our own precious blood ever since.

Where do you think this war we are now engaged in started, anyway?
Just ask Osama bin Laden, veteran of the Afghan war against the
Soviets, what lesson he learned from two decades of American
appeasement and withdrawal in the face of provocation.

Now, you want to negotiate with two of the world’s primary
sponsors of terrorism, who are directly involved in support of the
terrorists who murder our soldiers. You want to make an arrangement by
which we will exit Iraq, and leave it to them. To loot, to murder, to
fight over, while the rest of the world’s evil regimes look on, see our
weakness, and plot their own moves.

You can try that, with resolutions, by cutting spending for troops
in the field, as you seek the short-term satisfaction of withdrawal.
But I remain President of the United States, and as long as I am, I
will be no lame duck in this fight.

I will engage evil directly where I find it, in Iraq and in Iran.
With an aggressive and ruthless new strategy and a plan to build our
army as we should have a long time ago, I will show the American people
that we can fight and we can win. I expect that the American people,
though misled by their press and many of their elected representatives,
will see results and will get it. Because the American people are a
people who in the end don’t give up, don’t stop fighting, refuse to
lose, and will choose to win. I have faith in them.

Oh, there’s another one of those words you don’t like.

A nation that is not willing to fight for what it believes in, for
its place in the world, is not worthy of its own ideals. But that is
not America. I now intend to help America restore its faith in itself.
By fighting this necessary fight that we cannot afford to lose.

So … are you with me, or against us?

Continue reading “What W Should Say”

The Mommy State

Smokers
Two items in the news over the last few days have drawn attention from the media, various pundits, and outraged citizens. The first, of course, is the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, and the second is the City of Charleston’s proposed smoking ordinance.  It occurs to me that both are related. Here’s how.

Roe vs. Wade became the law of the land in 1973. It immediately legalized abortion, and, in the modern sense, gave women the right to control their own bodies. A more subtle consequence immediately began to work itself into the national consciousness; to wit, all women should have the right to choose to have an abortion, and, if they could not afford the procedure, governmental agencies from the Federal level down to the municipal level would pay.

No Smoking ordinances are popping up all over the US. The logic applied by lawmakers seems to be that citizens have the right to be free from second-hand smoke. In other words, smokers are invading the privacy of non-smokers. And, since governmental agencies provide a significant portion of health care, through either free (subsidized) clinics or tax incentives to provide insurance, it is entirely within the government’s scope to restrict behavior that harms other people.

Friends, we all have our hands out when it comes to the disbursement of the public weal. Why should we be so outraged when we are told how to behave in order to receive "our share"? The solution is really quite simple, and in it lies the fulcrum of the political see-saw. If we do not accept benefits from the State,  the State should not be able to govern our behaviors.

The problem lies in the fact that more people want to be on the receiving end of State monies (in any form) than do not. In this situation, the tyranny of the minority cannot occur, unlike say, in the US Senate (but that’s another post).

If you support public funding of abortion, even though you may choose to exercise your options privately, you cannot then oppose the No-Smoking Ordinance, even though you personally do not smoke. As long as we accept the notion that we have a right to a service provided by government, we must also accept that the government has the right to tell us how to behave.

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Still Looking for the Frequency

Tin_hat
We’re sorry for the paucity of posts over the last few weeks. For our loyal reader(s), we can only say that the re-entry to the world of academe has been rewarding but very, very time-consuming. In fact, there was some consideration given to a hiatus, of indeterminate length, so to master the skills required. But the interest remains, and the ideas, if not the time. So please bear with us as we adjust, calibrate, memorize, recite, and generally enjoy the academic experience.

It can only make us better!

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Comet Over Krakow

From our favorite astronomy site……

Krakowmcnaught2_sawow720_2

Comet Over Krakow
Credit & Copyright:

Andrzej Sawow

Explanation:

Bright Comet
McNaught (C/2006 P1) graced the twilight this week,
seen
by many
and often described with superlatives.

Watching the skies
over Krakow, Poland, Andrzej Sawow
recorded this view on Wednesday – with an ordinary handheld
digital camera.

He notes that "… astronomy is really for everyone who loves to
look at the night sky.  And fortunately (sometimes) the sky
generously rewards its observer".

Now very close to the Sun,
Comet McNaught
(along with Mercury) is visible in
realtime images from the SOHO spacecraft.

Otherwise, skywatchers will find the comet hard to see this weekend.

But southern hemisphere observers could be rewarded
next week as Comet McNaught begins to climb
higher
in southern skies
.

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Oz Revealed

Sometimes the inner workings of complex machinery are revealed, and we are surprised to learn that the impressive is really quite simple. So it comes as no surprise to learn that the New York Times  is really just another misinformed, biased media outlet.

Neptunus Lex explains:

Sometimes, under pressure, people revealingly blurt things out which they truly believe to be true that demonstrably ain’t so. These slips often unintentionally reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of the real world, and represent a chance for Concerned People to gently guide them back into the light. Such a teachable moment was revealed yesterday in the opening line of the New York Times editorial on the Bush tax cuts:

The tax system in the United States is supposed to mitigate inequality.

Well, no, actually. According to Article I of the Constitution,  the tax system in the United States is designed to, “pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.” But it was an easy mistake to make, if you believe that the one of the principal functions of government is to redistribute income away from those who earn more of it – place a sin tax on success, in other words – in order to purchase the ongoing dependency of those who earn less.

So. Glad we could clear that up.

Now, perhaps, we can understand the Liberal tendency to quote the NYT, since it is clear that "The Paper of Record" has a different interpretation of our Constitution than your scribe.

Thanks, Lex.

Continue reading “Oz Revealed”